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oct 24 2008

Photo tour: Slum dwellers open their homes

Dharavi, Mumbai, India (Jonas Bendiksen)

The more staggering a number, the more it can lose resonance. Where to begin getting your head around the fact that a billion people are jammed into the world’s slums? With Norwegian photojournalist Jonas Bendiksen, who zeroes in on a few families in Caracas, Jakarta, Mumbai, and Nairobi. Get to know them through engrossing 360-degree photos and audio clips posted at his site, The Places We Live. Bendiksen makes the world seem not only crowded, but smaller.

I found out about The Places We Live through the VSL: Web newsletter, and I've had the topic of overcrowding on my mind lately. I blogged about how cities are grappling with its environmental challenges, and I’ve been caught up in the sweeping, largely autobiographical novel Shantaram, in which the narrator—an escaped Australian convict with a tendency to philosophize—winds up living in an illegal yet thriving Mumbai slum.

Are Bendiksen’s photos a close enough look at slum life, or would you consider taking a “poverty tour” on your next trip? We wrote about the trend here and whether it helps or exploits poor communities.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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